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Documenting History in the Digital Age

Documenting History in the Digital Age

Saturday, April 7, 2012 - 11:00pm to Sunday, April 8, 2012 - 1:00am
docementing history in the South

Photographer Jim Alexander

Photo: Jim Alexander / Jim Alexander

Part of the exhibit STREET SIGNS--An exhibit of photographs by Jim Alexander documenting the mass struggle for social and economic justice in the South.

The panel will discuss the meaning of “documentary” and explore the advent of the Internet and its relationship to documenting history.

  • At what point does something become historical?
  • Who determines what is taught as history?
  • How images are archived today versus 25 years ago?

Truth telling in images

  • Where should the line be drawn with digital enhancement?
  • Tools and Technology?

MODERATOR | Jim Alexander is a 2006 inductee into “The HistoryMakers”, he was born in 1935 in Waldwick, NJ and has been an Atlanta resident since 1976. He obtained his first camera in 1952 while serving in the US Navy. A graduate of the NY Institute of Photography, Alexander has spent over 50 years documenting human rights and the African American experience, and teaching photography. Alexander is called a “participant observer” because of his activism in the arts, mass media, human rights and his documentation of issues he is actively concerned with.  He has had over 60 solo exhibits. His most recent show was a retrospective on American music titled “Black Music in America Since 1968: Photographs by Jim Alexander”, at the Gantt Center in Charlotte, NC. In 2004 The Paul Jones Family Fund honored Alexander with an “Artist Of Distinction” award. In 1995 he was the first artist chosen by the city of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs in the “Atlanta Master Artist Program”.

PANELISTS |William A. (Bill) Brown is an independent filmmaker whose award winning work has been shown at festivals throughout the world. As President of Atlanta Video, Brown has produced literally thousands of media projects since the company's inception in 1976. His documentaries have aired on PBS and The Arts & Entertainment Network. Brown also writes feature films, film articles and teaches filmmaking in the Film Studies Department at Emory University. Brown has written, produced, and directed projects for IBM, the Coca-Cola Company and the High Museum of Art. Bill Brown directed the Olympic documentary project for IBM, one of the largest documentary film projects in Atlanta's history. In his spare time Brown can be found filming architectural oddities and ritual crowd activities anywhere from Las Vegas to Angkor Wat.

Susan J. “Sue” Ross refers to herself as a “photo-griot” with a specialization in documenting images which portray the comings and goings of the African-American community – cultural, political, social and economic. In the African tradition, the griot is the oral historian holding the essence of African history and culture through the word. Sue Ross, the photo-griot, uses photographs to tell the stories of the African-American community. "I am primarily a people photographer, finding grace and dignity in the faces of our people."Sue Ross has combined her life’s work with her positions in government administration for the City of Atlanta, serving as photographer for many Atlanta events including the annual Dream Jamborees, the 1988 Democratic Convention, the Atlanta Third World Film Festivals, the Atlanta Jazz Festivals, the Nelson Mandela visits, King Week, the National Black Arts Festivals, the Centennial Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, and as the informal, and sometimes formal, chronicler of activities during the administrations of Atlanta’s four African-American mayors. Currently, she serves as vendor development manager for the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management.

Eric Waters has been a professional photographer for more than 30 years. He studied under the tutelage of the late Marion Porter; a very well known and respected black New Orleans photographer and owner of Porter’s Photo News. through his relationship with Marion Porter he was taught to really see the world around him in a way that he had not noticed before. It was that relationship, that built the foundation for Waters’ future in photography. Waters decided early on in his career that New Orleans Street Culture had significant historical value, and was extremely worthy of documentation. Although he is sought after as an event and wedding photographer, he is known best for capturing the vibrant and energetic scenes of the Second Line and the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians. He is one of the few photographers with the “insiders” view of what makes this culture come alive.

Contact Information: 

Jim Alexander




AFSC Georgia Peace Center
60 Walton Street, NW
30303 Atlanta , GA